Two big screens to show big game

THOUSANDS of Munster fans will be able to savour the atmosphere of Cardiff as Limerick will erect two big screens for the Heineken Cup final.

Traffic and street drinking restrictions will ensure a safe family environment as the city hopes to play its part in a second cup victory for the province against Toulouse.

Live TV shots from Limerick’s city centre during the 2006 win reportedly boosted the team at vital stages.

Futureama Productions boss Fran O’Donnell, who organised the screens two years ago, said: “It gave the players and fans a huge lift at a crunch time when Munster was under pressure. Several players said later it was the big screen links that spurred them on to beat Biarritz.”

More than 18,000 fans turned out that day to watch the European Rugby Cup final.

“It was the next best thing to being in Cardiff and a great day for families who got to watch the match in a safe environment without the expense of travelling,” he said.

This Saturday, a 40 square metre screen will be erected at the junction of O’Connell Street and Mallow Street.

The planned swivel screen will stand 21ft higher than the last one and, together with a second at the junction with Cecil Street will give fans a greater view of the cup clash.

The event is being brought free to fans due to the joint sponsorship of the Irish Examiner, Limerick city and county councils and Shannon Development. O’Connell Street will be closed to traffic between the junctions of Mallow Street and Roches Street from 9am on Saturday while Upper and Lower Glentworth Street will also be closed to traffic from early morning.

Mr O’Donnell said: “We regret any inconvenience the road closures may cause people and we will be contacting all those businesses that will be affected before Saturday.”

No alcohol will be allowed into the screen areas where entertainment starts at 3pm.

Limerick city mayor Ger Fahy said: “The big screen in 2006 was an outstanding success in spurring on the Munster team and, this year, thousands of fans and families who cannot travel to the match will again be given a chance to savour the atmosphere on the streets of Limerick. Let’s hope the shots of them cheering on Munster will help the team bring the Heineken Cup back here again.”

Irish Examiner head of marketing Máiréad Maher said: “The Irish Examiner is honoured to be involved. Our involvement underlines an ongoing commitment to rugby at all levels in the province.

“The Irish Examiner takes obvious pride in Munster’s exploits and wishes them the very best of luck to Declan Kidney and his management team and squad in Cardiff on Saturday.”

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